God’s manifests His grace upon all types of individuals. Remember, grace is His unmerited favor displayed towards those who deserve His wrath and judgment because of their sin. While mercy is God not giving sinners what they do deserve, which is judgment, grace is God giving sinners what they do not deserve, which is salvation.
In Isaiah 56:1–8; 57:1–2, 14–21, Isaiah chronicles several types of individuals for whom God blessed during the prophet’s lifetime. These were individuals and people groups which God had displayed not only His saving grace, but also His subsequent blessings. Who were these people?
First, they were those who did right before the LORD. The LORD blessed those who were righteous and who honored the weekly day of worship. Isaiah 56:1-2 says, “Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my righteousness be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
Second, they were those who were saved Gentiles. God did not regard foreigners, or non-Jews, as second class citizens in the kingdom of God. Not only did God accept them but He also accepted their sacrifices and worship. Isaiah 56:3a, 6-8 says, “Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; 6 “And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant— 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” 8 The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” (See Ephesians 2:11-22).
Third, God blessed those who had physical deformities and who might otherwise have been excluded from the covenant community by the law (Exodus 12:43; Deuteronomy 23:1-8). There will be no such exclusions in God’s eternal kingdom. Isaiah 56:3b-5 says, “…and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” 4 For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5 I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”
Fourth, the LORD blessed those who died young. Infant mortality, tragic circumstances resulting in death, and so-called pre-mature deaths, exist today. However, even more so in the 8th century B.C. The LORD, in His providence, sometimes permits this to happen in order to spare the individual from future evil. Isaiah 57:1-2 says, “The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; 2 he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.”
Fifth, The LORD blessed the broken and contrite of heart. Isaiah 57:14-21 says, “14And it shall be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people’s way.” 15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. 16 For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would grow faint before me, and the breath of life that I made. 17 Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry, I struck him; I hid my face and was angry, but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart. 18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, 19 creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him. 20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
The LORD was gracious in the past. He remains gracious in the present and in the future. All His blessings originate from His sovereign, and gracious hand. No matter who you are, where you live, and what you have experienced, those in Christ are blessed.
Soli deo Gloria!